As a yoga teacher, I’ve realized the health and wellness industrial complex isn’t designed to make you healthy. It is also antithetical to being our authentic selves. And that’s why I’ve stopped talking about health and wellness as being a part of yoga. Because we–you and I–are so much more than that and our cultural definitions are too limiting. Yoga is union, a union of physical, mental, and spiritual selves. And when we find that, it brings us to our authentic selves.
Authenticity always wins over someone else’s definition of “health” or “wellness”, and that’s why I focus on our stories–the ones we’ve been told, the ones we create for ourselves, and our own personal truth. We can only be our real selves when we have connection and safety within ourselves. Those two things–connection and safety–come from our stories.
To know ourselves is to understand ourselves, and most importantly, it means we understand and are aware of all the stories which have shaped our lives. We know which are true, which we want to keep, and which should be released because they do not serve us.
You don’t have to be what other people say you are. We need to embark on a journey of discovery to find our sense of connection, a sense of safety, and to know ourselves. We need to free range and find our own paths. Only then will we find out who we were truly meant to be.
- Being neurodivergent isn’t a deficit or a super power. It’s a state of being that allows us to view the world in new and interesting ways.
- chronic illness doesn’t need to be inspirational. Frankly, it sucks a lot of the time, and it shouldn’t keep us from being our true selves.
- Yoga isn’t just a workout and isn’t a determiner of health and wellness.
- Most of the identities the world tells us are binary really aren’t. A spectrum is a way to begin understanding them, but only if you realize that spectrum is really a sphere of possibilities.
- It’s okay to ask for help and seek out information. It’s also okay to know when the information isn’t right for you.
- The western model of medicine, including psychology, is broken because it focuses only on “fixes” and not on the possibilities and realities inherent in our human existence. A broken bone needs setting and healing, yes. But some things are merely symptoms of a broken system–not a broken person.
We are not meant to separate our mind and body, treating them as if they’re packed in two different boxes, never to be put back to together. We are meant to be whole, complete, and amazing beings who are supported, safe, and connected in the lives we want to live. To achieve this union, we must examine the stories we’ve been told, the stories we tell ourselves, and we must determine which are true and which really aren’t.
My dream is to create a world where owning our stories is possible. To create spaces where we come together to move gently, with joy and laughter, as we discover ourselves by tuning into ourselves. Where we find connection and safety within ourselves as well as with others.
My story won’t look like yours and your story won’t sound like anyone else’s. In fact, it may not even be the same from day to day as we discover ourselves and our inner truths, and that’s all right. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. We’re more than the molecules which make up our bodies and our minds, and we’re so much more than the stories we were told about ourselves.
The journey to realizing we are more than our bodies, more than our minds, more than the stories others have told which define us, begins with living as if we are more than all of that. It begins by finding connection, by finding safety, and by finding ourselves as whole, complete beings just as we are. You’re whole and complete just as you are. Right now. Right here.
The Health and Wellness Industrial Complex would reduce us to pieces and parts, to labels, so that it can “fix” what it perceives is wrong with us and claim itself a victor, while it waves around a trophy of paperwork and billing codes large enough to hide the human suffering left behind. Forgotten. Alone.
I’m not saying that there aren’t things the Health and Wellness Industrial Complex can’t do. It can do a lot. It helps a lot of people. But it doesn’t have all the answers, and tying ourselves, naming ourselves, labeling ourselves with the tools of a broken system sometimes only serves to harm ourselves..
We are unique. We deserve to claim our authentic truths. We deserve to LIVE those authentic truths. And we’re a much more vibrant and better community when we see each other’s truths. Let’s free range our way to discovering these truths about ourselves. And then, let’s crow & flow!
“The cosmos is also within us, we’re made of star stuff,” Carl Sagan.
“We are star stuff. We are the universe made manifest trying to figure itself out.” Delynn (Babylon 5)